arcana imperii :: the book of j


seen on the web...

«be deeper than a spoon.» ~mrspernicious


«as american as apple pie, slavery and lynching»

in the heat of the presidential campaign, the mudslinging has americans once again complaining about negative politics. people say they yearn for the «good old days» when elections were supposedly more polite affairs. well, commentator kenneth c davis offers another take, showing that in our glorious nation, it's always been nasty...

for example: in 1800 critics warned that if thomas jefferson was elected, rape, adultery and incest would be practised openly. that same year john adams was accused of sending his running mate to procure a pair of pretty girls as mistresses for each of them. in 1804 a reporter first exposed jefferson's supposed dalliance with young slave sally hemings. how about 1828, when john quincy adams was charged with providing american girls to the russian czar and andrew jackson's mother was called a common prostitute. a mere four years later, jackson was himself accused of adultery and murder.

not even abe L was spared. in 1864 our beloved abraham was bashed as thief, monster, butcher and the father of an illegitimate child. a pamphlet was published that year equating emancipation with miscegenation advising new york's irish to marry black and cast the civil war as lincoln's master plan to blend the races

so the mean-spirited politics of personal destruction prove to be as american as apple pie, slavery and lynching.

i agree with mr davis: «toxic campaigns release a corrosive acid that eats at democracy's soul and the real losers are not the candidates but we, the people».

georgia's shameful bigotry

as if the election-related legal wranglings already taking place in nevada, colorado, ohio, florida and elsewhere weren't scary enough, npr reported yesterday that three white residents in rural georgia challenged virtually all hispanic (which can --surprise, surprise, america-- be, for instance, white, black, asian or native indian) voter registrations in their precinct, charging they are fraudulent. most of those challenged have already proven their legal status as voters and citizens, yet almost every «hispanic voter» (about one hundred) is being asked to appear at a hearing tonight with proof of citizenship... please take a moment to listen to this most disturbing story.


happy birthday

arcana imperii wishes first lady (1993-2001) and new york senator (since 2001) hillary rodham clinton a most splendid and brilliant birthday.

mrs rodham clinton was born 26 october 1947.

in memoriam

baritone robert merrill, star of opera and yankee stadium died saturday at his home in suburban new york city aged eighty-five or eighty-seven.

described in time magazine as «one of the met's best baritones» he became as well-known to new york yankees fans for his season-opening rendition of «the star-spangled banner» --a tradition that began in 1969. in his thirty-one consecutive seasons with the metropolitan opera, merrill performed virtually every baritone role in the operatic repertoire. his lifelong enthusiasm for baseball led to his long tenure at yankee stadium, where he sang the national anthem on opening day for three decades. he performed the same duty for the yankees during the world series, the playoffs and at old-timers' day.

merrill grew up in brooklyn and was first inspired by music as a teenager when he saw a metropolitan opera performance of verdi's il trovatore. as a young baritone he paid for singing lessons with extra money he earned as a semipro pitcher.

source: elizabeth LeSure / the associated press.

study: many bush supporters think iraq had WMDs and supported al qaeda

as i found out last 21 october on npr's talk of the nation, a new study by the programme on international policy attitudes (pipa) shows that a significant number of bush supporters continue to believe that iraq had weapons of mass destruction and supported al qaeda.

do we need further proof of the willful ignorance, blindness and deafness of these people? do you see why i insist that voting for bush would be shameful and reprehensible?


quotation of the week

«i prefer a plausible impossibility to an unconvincing possibility. so far, i remain unconvinced.» ~aristotle/j



no evidence of terrorist attack

in early july, secretary of the department of homeland security tom ridge, declared that credible intelligence showed al qaeda intended to launch a «large-scale attack» inside the united states to «disrupt our democratic process». more than three months later, counter-terrorism officials in the united states and overseas say they are still concerned, but have uncovered little specific evidence of a plot timed to the election.


just go ahead...

yes, america, go on. vote for bush and expect healthcare reform. expect to get insurance. go ahead... because the real problem with healthcare (the lack thereof, i mean) is that doctors get sued too much. yep. surely. that's certainly it. spot on indeed...


quotaion of the week

«qui sème le vent récolte la tempête.» ~french proverb

14 days

two weeks ladies and gentlemen... two weeks...


... «nader? nader's just an airbag... but without a car attached to it...» ~garrison keillor, aphc, 16 oct 04


on my own

«on my own,
pretending he's beside me.
all alone, i walk with him till morning
without him, i feel his arms around me
and when i lose my way i close my eyes
and he has found me
in the rain, the pavement shines like silver
all the lights are misty in the river
in the darkness, the trees are full of starlight
and all i see is him and me forever and forever
and i know it's only in my mind
that i'm talking to myself and not to him
and although i know that he is blind
still i say, there's a way for us
i love him, but every day i'm learning
all my life, i've only been pretending
without me, his world would go on turning
a world that's full of happiness
that i have never known
i love him, but only on my own...»

~from les misérables

more than just an online profile

spotted round the net. quite moving indeed.

«today i learned that i am now hiv positive, addicted to many things (mostly men) and forever and always rushing into relationships for all the wrong reasons. but, from each man i have "fallen" for, on this difficult path to bitterness, i have drawn strength, gained wisdom, and a much better understanding of who i am as a human being. an individual.

we surely know ourselves better than anyone else. i know that i am stubborn, rude, spoiled, impatient, and extremely insecure. this is not an excuse, it is who i am. and those that have taken the time, like my family and my true friends, also know i am a little bit more than just an online profile. now... i... want... more.»

edited by yours truly. author's handle and additional particulars withheld.


how many members of the bush administration are needed to replace a light bulb?

----- original message -----
from: meg's mail via sW [edited]
to: arcana imperii
sent: friday, 15 october 2004 10:09 edt
subject: fw: a perfect ten

the answer is ten:

01. one to deny that a light bulb needs to be changed.

02. one to attack the patriotism of anyone who says the light bulb needs to be changed.

03. one to blame president clinton for burning out the light bulb.

04. one to tell the nations of the world that they are either: «for changing the light bulb or for darkness».

05. one to give a billion dollar no-bid contract to halliburton for the new light bulb.

06. one to arrange a photograph of bush, dressed as a janitor, standing on a stepladder under the banner «light bulb change accomplished».

07. one administration insider to resign and write a book documenting in detail how bush was literally «in the dark».

08. one to viciously smear and attempt to destroy the repution of #7.

09. one surrogate to campaign on tv and at rallies on how dubya has had a strong light bulb-changing policy all along.

10. and finally, one to confuse americans about the difference between screwing a light bulb and screwing the country.

hahahaha! brilliant! thank you!


another win for kerry

another clear victory. now go make your voice heard!

via kicking ass.

bush vs reality

bush's claim: «i don't think i ever said i'm not worried about osama bin laden. i think that's one of those ex-a-gge-ra-tions.»

reality: check out this video clip.

bush has said about osama bin laden that he was «truly not that concerned about him». the remark came at a 13 march 2002 press conference. cnn's kelly wallace asked, «don't you believe that the threat that bin laden posed won't truly be eliminated until he is found either dead or alive?» bush's response: «well, as i say, we haven't heard much from him. ... and, again, i don't know where he is. i -- i'll repeat what I said. i truly am not that concerned about him. i know he is on the run...»

bush's claim: bush said 75 percent of known al qaeda leaders have been brought to justice.

reality: bush incorrectly stated that under his watch 75 percent of al qaeda's leadership has been brought to justice. cia officials have estimated that 75 percent of the two dozen or so known al qaeda leaders as of 11 september 2001, have been either killed or captured. the estimate does not take into account post-11 september activity, or new al qaeda leaders who have taken the place of those killed or captured. the non-partisan international institute for strategic studies estimates that al qaeda has about 18,000 potential operatives, but there is no official data on the size of al qaeda's total membership, in part because it is difficult to track the number of new recruits since the attack, invasion, occupation and continued war in iraq.

bush's claim: bush said senator kerry has proposed us$2.2 trillion in new spending.

reality: bush's number is based on an analysis by the partisan and conservative think tank, american enterprise institute. however, bush cites an outdated institute report that did not include a detailed kerry campaign budget plan released 03 August 2004. after factoring in these August proposals, the institute revised its estimate to $1.8 trillion in spending, which the kerry campaign still affirms is off-base. according to the revised institute analysis, senator kerry's largest expenditure is his health care plan, at a cost of about us$922 billion. but separate independent analyses, one by the nonpartisan concord coalition and the other by emory university professor ken thorpe, each have priced senator kerry's health care plan to be $653 billion. the concord coalition analysis finds that senator kerry's and bush's overall spending proposals each cost roughly $1.3 trillion. thorpe, the emory professor, is a former clinton administration official, but the bush campaign has cited his numbers to support various campaign claims, approving of his methodology.

via kicking ass and cnn.

the final presidential debate

the democratic national committee feels these are some of the questions bush must answer in tonight's third and final presidential debate:

  • in july 2003, well after the 9/11 attacks on america, your administration projected that your tax giveaways would create 5.5 million jobs by the end of 2004. instead, you are the first president in 72 years to lose jobs. when are you going to admit that your policies have failed, and what is your plan to change course?

  • five million americans have lost health insurance during your tenure, and the costs of health care are rising while wages are falling. your prescription drug bill doesn't control the rising cost of medication, but it includes a us$100 billion giveaway to drug companies and HMOs. do you have any plans to address america's health care crisis?

  • america has gone from a record surplus of us$236 billion to a record deficit of us$422 billion. your tax giveaways [and reduction in services provided], which went overwhelmingly to the wealthiest sliver of americans, are responsible for two-thirds of the deficit. why should our children and grandchildren pay for your tax cuts for the wealthiest americans?

  • you have weakened protections that keep our air and water clean. you let energy companies write your energy policy. you took the burden for cleaning up pollution away from polluters and put it onto taxpayers. how can you justify these policies to the average american family?

  • in the previous debate, linda grabel asked you to name three mistakes you've made as president, and you failed to name a single one. how does not admitting your mistakes make you a better president?

  • NB: debate fun: play bush debate bingo! lol

    voter registration fraud reported

    george knapp of klas-tv in las vegas reported today on an alleged voter registration scam perpetrated by employees of voters outreach of america, a firm with confirmed contractual ties to the republican party (the republican national committee). the firm hired about three hundred temporary workers who were to register eligible voters at grocery stores, shopping malls and even the car parks or pavement (sidewalks) at government offices such as the department of motor vehicles (dmv) and election department (in the last two instances giving voters the impression of government affiliation). these workers were apparently specifically instructed to register only republicans and avoid registering democrats and given training which included "techniques to identify republicans and democrats". as it turn out, those who registered as democrats were not given the receipt which would allow one to verify registration and furthermore, office managers and supervisors were caught deliberately tearing up and throwing away properly signed, valid, democrat registrations.

    hear expanded coverage from npr's michele norris (all things considered) and klas-tv george knapp report on the developing story.

    finalists for 2004 national book awards announced

    the twenty finalists for the 2004 national book awards were announced today by garrison keillor at the f. scott fitzgerald theatre in st. paul, minnesota. the finalists are considered to be among america's most gifted and original writers representing an astonishing range of styles, voices, and themes. keillor will host the national book awards benefit dinner and ceremony in manhattan 17 november.

    among the finalists are a first novelist, two distinguished historians, five prolific and established poets, two previous finalists - including the poet donald justice, who died earlier this year - and the 9/11 commission. all five fiction finalists are women who live in new york city.

    the finalists in the young people's literature category tackle such sensitive subjects as sexual identity, racism, and atheism, while the nonfiction finalists offer new insights into shakespeare's life and work, washington crossing the delaware, re-entry into the outside world for prisoners, civil rights in the jazz age, and the events and lessons learned from 9/11.

    the finalists were selected by four distinguished, independent panels of judges who were given the charge of selecting what they deem to be the best books of the year. their decisions are made independent of and without interference by the national book foundation and their deliberations are strictly confidential. to be eligible for a 2004 national book award, a book must have been published in the united states between 01 december 2003 and 30 november 2004 and must have been written by a united states citizen. this year the judges chose from a record 1,074 entries submitted by 226 publishers and imprints. [i guess no eligible books are scheduled to be published between today and 30 november, or am i missing something?] each winner receives us$10,000 plus a bronze statue; each finalist receives a bronze medal and a us$1,000 cash award.

    the board of directors of the national book foundation will bestow its 2004 medal for distinguished contribution to american letters upon judy blume at the benefit and award ceremony, who will deliver an address to an audience of more than 1,000 authors, editors, publishers, friends, and supporters of books and book publishing. proceeds from the evening benefit the national book foundation and the many educational outreach programmes it runs throughout the year.

    the finalistst are:

    young people's literature:
    deb caletti, honey, baby, sweetheart (simon & schuster books for young readers)
    pete hautman, godless (simon & schuster books for young readers)
    laban carrick hill, harlem stomp!: a cultural history of the harlem renaissance (megan tingley books/little, brown & company)
    shelia p. moses, the legend of buddy bush (margaret k. mcelderry books/simon & schuster children's publishing division)
    julie anne peters, luna: a novel (megan tingley books/little, brown & company)

    kevin boyle, arc of justice: a saga of race, civil rights, and murder in the jazz age (henry holt & company, llc)
    david hackett fischer, washington's crossing (oxford university press)
    jennifer gonnerman, life on the outside: the prison odyssey of elaine bartlett (farrar, straus & giroux)
    stephen greenblatt, will in the world: how shakespeare became shakespeare (w.w. norton & company)
    the 9/11 commission, the 9/11 commission report: final report of the national commission on terrorist attacks upon the united states - authorised edition (w.w. norton & company)

    william heyen, shoah train (etruscan press)
    donald justice, collected poems (alfred a knopf)
    carl phillips, the rest of love (farrar, straus & giroux)
    cole swensen, goest (alice james books)
    jean valentine, door in the mountain: new and collected poems, 1965-2003 (wesleyan university press)

    sarah shun-lien bynum, madeleine is sleeping (harcourt, inc)
    christine schutt, florida (triquarterly books/northwestern university press)
    joan silber, ideas of heaven: a ring of stories (w.w. norton & company)
    lily tuck, the news from paraguay (harpercollinspublishers)
    kate walbert, our kind: a novel in stories (scribner)

    security threats should benefit kerry NOT bush

    ----- original message -----
    from: [private]
    to: arcana imperii
    sent: wednesday, 13 october 2004 10:18 edt
    subject: more fear tactics?

    minnesota senator closing dc office amid security threat
    [posted: 09:54 edt 13 october 2004 / updated: 09:58 edt 13 october 2004]

    washington -- a congressional official says a threat assessment update given to senators was less alarmist than one that prompted one senator to close his office across the street from the US capitol.

    minnesota democrat mark dayton said he closed the office after a top-secret intelligence report made him fear for his staff's safety. staffers will work from minnesota offices or places in other parts of washington. dayton added he got worried after listening to the warning given by senate majority leader bill frist [ugh] two weeks ago, but officials who don't want to be identified by name say the first threat warning has been updated. federal officials say they have no new intelligence indicating the US capitol complex is a target in the run-up to election day.

    some republicans accuse dayton of being an alarmist and sending a message to terrorists that «they scared you out of your own government».

    the question is entirely appropriate. fear-mongering or? what message does this send to the average MN eligible voter? that things are indeed dangerous? well i hope so, i think... because this being the land of most brilliant garrison keillor i doubt they'll be as obtuse as to think they should support bush&co for "protection and safety," instead of voting for the kerry/edwards ticket.

    that dayton's been accused of being an alarmist by republicans leads me to speculate that perhaps they agree with my assessment! dayton can indeed strengthen support for his party among base, the undecided, fence-straddlers and perhaps even some somewhat enlightened repubs, by rightly linking bush&co to present and increasing danger as result of their misguided policies and actions.

    thanks sW.

    teleflip it!

    teleflip™ started when its founder became increasingly frustrated at his inability to send text messages to friends' mobile phones from his computer. it was of course possible, but one had to know the mobile telephone provider, the correct domain name and the correct syntax for the email address. there had to be an easier way... teleflip™ was born.

    the next time you need someone to email you directions, a recipe, sales information, their desire to see you tonight, or maybe just a few sweet nothings... tell them to teleflip™ it, at: yourmobilenumber@teleflip.com.

    it's easy. it's free. it's for your phone. go ahead, have a go!


    tell him! tell bush! tellhim.no!

    yes, the spelling is intentional and accurate: tellhim.no!

    «when the norwegian government doesn't pass along to george w bush the opinion of the norwegian people on the iraqi war, we have feel we ought to tell him ourselves. this is why two ads appear in today's edition of the washington post (12 october 2004). today we clearly make known out our opinion and concern about the war in iraq.

    more than 80% of all norwegians oppose the US led war in iraq. a majority also favours the withdrawal of norwegian forces from iraq. still, norway is perceived worlwide as an uncritical supporter of the US "war on terror". norway is on the "willing list" of countries that support this policy, and george w bush even mentioned norway specifically in his state of the union address this year.

    tellhim.no have therefore collected money to place two ads in the washington post where we explain the prevailing norwegian opinion about the war in iraq, and bush's foreign policy.

    we do not think the us "war on terror" decreases the threat of terrorism; we believe it does the opposite. we opposing the continued war in iraq as the bush administration continues to lack a plan to secure peace and pave the way to the establishment of a strong and legitimate democracy there. we strongly condemn the continued harassment, torture and murder of civilians in the hands of extremists and are puzzled by their impunity in the face of the presence of US and "coalition" armed forces in iraq.

    please email any comments and ideas for wider international dissemination of this campaign to post@tellhim.no.»

    nb: edited by yours truly.
    takk, rover! via jayjdc... ad interim [my phlog].


    quotation of the week

    «why you got to go and fuck with the programme?» ~fruit, episode twenty-nine, the wire.



    post-debate republicans

    «...you spin me right round, baby
    right round like a record, baby
    right round round round
    you spin me right round, baby
    right round like a record, baby
    right round round round...»

    ~dead or alive

    politics politics

    «sometimes, i get the feeling the whole country is being run by paris hilton.» ~molly ivins, our petulant president»

    how unfair to paris hilton! she'd never send 1067 men to die for no reason. she's much smarter than that... (bartcop)

    «they are willing to say left is right and up is down. the vice president and the president need to recognise that the earth is actually round and that the sun rises in the east.» ~john edwards, on the «up is down» administration.


    the first steps

    i've written privately about the responsibility and duty of doing what's right, what is owed, in honour of what's persisted, survived and even blossomed in the most inauspicious and rather impossible of imposed circumstance in order to catalyse what shall amount to nothing less than the dramatic, radical and fundamental change and healing of a life in distress as a result of maddening, absurd, cowardly, uncaring, risky, damaging, manipulative, sickening, abusive, soul-smothering and hurtful insistence on fabricated mystery and deceit. who ever thought fear could be so intense and pervasive as to induce the most unnacceptable and debilitating behaviour and produce the most insane and illogical excuses for imposing draconian and unnecessary measures for self-preservation... or is it just sadism, plain and simple?

    «too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.» ~leo buscaglia


    yiddish dictionary

    vay iz meer:
    an expression which closely resembles "woe is me", and is cried out by jewish mothers every 15 minutes. an anthem of true suffering.

    the male reproductive member, primarily used for urinating and solitary amusement. larger than a schmeckel. similar to a schmuck. a common term for male in-laws.

    yet another term for the male member, most often used to describe a man with an attitude of arrogant stupidity. nice logic there, if you think about it. a common term for former male in-laws and business partners.

    people who are gentile. a polite term for anyone who doesn't love a good bargain.

    an endearing term of love which means "little man". an emasculating term for women to call men, if you think about it. but who has time to think.

    gefilte fish:
    a tasty mix of congealed fish parts and transparent slime jelly. the only food it is permissible for jewish children to refuse. in some families, children may even be allowed to gag, but politely.

    a derogatory term which best refers to a female business associate or a mother-in-law. the closest english equivalent is "bitch".

    a call-girl, or prostitute. a reference to the russian czar's wife at the turn of the 20th century, and to that flashy shiksa your nephew married. also known as nafkeh.

    a yummy blend of overcooked noodles, raisins, and curds of ripe cheese. not fun to look at. when lathered with sour cream makes an excellent artery hardener.

    a purple soup made from beets and ammonia. often eaten by elderly ashkenazic jews who slurp noisily and have protruding nose hair-- which is helpful, because it stinks to high heaven.

    also referred to as matzoh balls. made with styrofoam and sponges. there isn't a laxative in the world strong enough to counteract their effect on the digestive system.

    a man who messes things up, always loses and feels miserable. an unfortunate arsehole. closely related to schlemazel and schlemiell. every jewish family has at least one, often named irving.

    a jerk who can't do anything right. in simple terms, someone who's always spilling his soup.

    the poor dumb putz a schlemiell is always spilling soup on.

    a guy with a small putz. a nothing. usually your ex-partner or ex-son-in-law.

    a word referring to all problems, trouble, grief, aggravation and heartache. examples: daughter pregnant with child of an unemployed catholic bartender; adult son loses job and moves back home.

    major tsuris:
    daughter and baby "bridget" move back home too.

    potato pancakes, castor oil and lightly seasoned with balsa wood. smells like old boxer shorts.

    a gleeful rejoice used when jewish parents find out their daughter is going to marry the jewish surgeon rather than that poor, unemployed goyishe bartender.

    many thanks to jG... and his father for this brilliant compilation. cheers!

    questions dick cheney must answer

    dick cheney, chief architect of the bush administration's failed policies on the war on terror, energy, and much more, has been the campaign's most relentless attack dog, proving over and over again that he will say anything to keep his hold on power. the democratic national committee feels these are some of the questions cheney must answer in tonight's debate:

    1. do you still stand by the following statements?
  • «simply stated, there is no doubt that saddam hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.»

  • «[saddam] had long established ties with al qaeda.»

  • «if we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we'll get hit again.»

  • 2. while our soldiers risk their lives in iraq, halliburton has been accused of overcharging taxpayers. as the previous CEO of halliburton, do you feel any responsibility for halliburton's misdeeds? did you contribute to the corporate culture that encourages deception?

    3. you have never released the records of your energy task force meetings from 2001. why do you refuse to tell the american public who you met with to write the nation's energy policies?

    4. how much have you personally saved from the bush tax giveaways [and reduction in services], and how many jobs did you create with the money you saved?

    NB: the hallibuttal: learn about dick cheney's record through the eyes of editorial cartoonists.

    HRH John I

    it would seem both monarchists and progressives can rest easy for the first time since the appointment of george w bush to the presidency of the united states of america. burke's peerage, experts on british aristocracy, have spoken and so all we can trust voters will come out in perhaps even unprecedented numbers and cast a vote for senator john kerry and elect him president since he indeed boasts not only more blue blood than his republican rival and current usurper, and any previous leader of this great land, but is indeed the overall best, ablest, rational, intelligent, deserving candidate.

    after months of research into senator kerry's ancestry, burke's peerage reported just over a week ago, that the vietnam war veteran is related to all the royal houses of europe and can claim kinship with tsar ivan the terrible, a previous emperor of byzantium and the shahs of persia. harold brooks-baker, burke's publishing director, said senator kerry had his mother, rosemary forbes, to thank for most of his royal connections: «every maternal blood line of kerry makes him more royal than any previous american president».

    «because of the fact that every presidential candidate with the most royal genes and chromosomes has always won the november presidential election, the coming election - based on 42 previous presidents - will go to john kerry.»

    research carried out on bush before the 2000 presidential race showed that he beat al gore in the royal stakes, claiming kinship with queen elizabeth as well as with kings henry iii and charles ii of england.

    burke's noted senator kerry is also a descendant of the former kings henry iii and henry ii and is distantly related to richard the lionheart, who led the third crusade in 1189. he is also descended from henry i, king of france, and his wife, anne of kiev, giving him kinship with the royal houses of sweden, norway and denmark.

    burke's research showed senator kerry also has historical political links in the US. he is closely related to john winthrop, the first massachusetts governor - the state for which he is now a senator - and his maternal grandmother was the granddaughter of robert winthrop, speaker of the house of representatives from 1847 to 1849.

    via phaseiii.


    and from oh song long ago ow reminds us that «the final mystery is oneself.» indeed.

    a bit more...

    «matthew suspects… he and his beautiful, independent wife lisa are starring in a play together—why so much extra time working with their director, adrian, an egocentric brit? cory, a chameleon-like private investigator, and frank, a well-intentioned therapist, unsuccessfully try to help matthew reconcile his conflicting emotions with the facts. as matthew's world dissolves, so does the world onstage: real life becomes a scene from their play, or a vivid imagining. reality is stripped away in layers, leaving only two people on a bare stage, who face each other without the protection of deceit. and ultimately, choose to not run.»

    from this site.

    private eyes...

    “private eyes began as a lie, “ claims playwright steven dietz. “and, like a lie, the play grew.” ironically, at the heart of his play, dietz’s characters continually try to tell the truth. and in doing so, they learn the value of “the comforting little lie.”

    secrecy and deception have been around forever. it’s in the paper and headlined on the news. it’s delicious to watch happen to someone else, but when it turns, it turns with a vengeance. “there is little that matches the mad rush of falling in love other than the mad rush of being betrayed,” says dietz. “it takes the same amount of energy, same amount of passion.”

    the twin fevers of passion and suspicion feed each other, and fuel the comedy of private eyes. an actress, lisa, is having an affair with adrian, her british director. why? because she no longer loves her husband? no, for the fervour of it. for the heightened, frightened rush of “stolen moments, secret phone calls,” that, lisa admits, “we were aching for”. both she and her husband matthew sense the surprise missing from their lives. saying, “i think you’re gorgeous” in the morning just doesn’t do it anymore-so is the only surprise left to say “i’m having an affair”?

    but danger’s delicious fevers have inescapable consequences. in private eyes, lisa buys into the myth of “telling the truth slowly over time,” as if spooning out a little truth in small doses like medicine won’t ever hurt anyone. she finds, however, that while waiting for the right time to tell the truth, the perfect time to hurt someone never comes. only when the masquerade’s over do she and matthew see that something quite simple lies at the heart of all the games. “we all desire,” states dietz. “but we fill our lives with the complexity to avoid the terrifying fact of simply having someone you want to be with.”

    the idea for private eyes was born over seven years ago in a louisville hotel room, of all places, as dietz envisioned two lovers failing to speak the truth. “have you ever, when checking out of a hotel room, looked into those open rooms that have not yet been cleaned, seen the rumpled bed with the bedspread on the floor, and wondered what went on in there? i have,” dietz confesses. “i make up a little scene in my mind. an illicit, romantic adventure, perhaps? the thought is sexy...what went on behind those closed doors?”

    in private eyes, dietz dives right into the heart of it. originally, the heart of it was just a title. “ i had the title of the usual suspect in my notebook, and was waiting for a play to put it to,” laughs dietz. he started the play in 1990, and it went on to receive a staged reading at the arizona theatre company in 1992. then christopher mcquarrie wrote a hit movie and put that title to it. though dietz had the title way before the movie, he “begrudgingly changed it.” the play, with its new name, was produced by the arizona theatre company for their final production of the 1996 season, where it was hailed by one reviewer as “the brightest and wittiest play we’ve seen in a long time.”

    “actually,” dietz confesses, “changing the title made the play more personal. the play moved from being a fun bag of tricks to an examination of how those tricks affect individuals. it helped to put the heart on the line.”

    private eyes forces the audience to put themselves on the line as well. as we witness the characters’ delicious deceptions, we are deceived just as quickly and easily. ultimately, we are the fundamental detectives, the real private eyes, who search for the clues to dietz’s comedy of surprise and misdirection.

    liz engelman - literary manager/dramaturg - intiman theatre / used here without permission from the actors theatre of louisville.

    private eyes by steven dietz

    a comedy of suspicion in which nothing is ever quite what it seems. matthew's wife, lisa, is having an affair with adrian, a british theatre director. or perhaps the affair is part of the play being rehearsed. or perhaps matthew has imagined all of it simply to have something to report to frank, his therapist. and, finally, there is cory --the mysterious woman who seems to shadow the others-- who brings the story to its surprising conclusion. or does she? the audience itself plays the role of detective in this hilarious «relationship thriller» about love, lust and the power of deception.


    quotation of the week

    «i would have written a shorter letter, but i didn't have time.» ~mark twain.



    how could anyone?

    yes. how could anyone with even limited use of their faculties still consider committing the shameful and reprehensible act of voting to give our blind president and his deaf administration four more years in power? not even the the lonestar iconoclast, the newspaper of bush's adopted hometown of crawford texas could bring itself to endorse him in his second bid for the presidency. and how eloquently the editors make their case...

    «few americans would have voted for george w bush four years ago if he had promised that, as president, he would:

  • empty the social security trust fund by $507 billion to help offset fiscal irresponsibility and at the same time slash social security benefits,

  • cut medicare by 17 percent and reduce veterans’ benefits and military pay,

  • eliminate overtime pay for millions of americans and raise oil prices by 50 percent,

  • give tax cuts to businesses that sent american jobs overseas, and, in fact, by policy encourage their departure,

  • give away billions of tax dollars in government contracts without competitive bids,

  • involve this country in a deadly and highly questionable war, and

  • take a budget surplus and turn it into the worst deficit in the history of the united states, creating a debt in just four years that will take generations to repay.

  • these were elements of a hidden agenda that surfaced only after he took office.
    the publishers of the iconoclast endorsed bush four years ago, based on the things he promised, not on this smoke-screened agenda. today, we are endorsing his opponent, john kerry, based not only on the things that bush has delivered, but also on the vision of a return to normality that kerry says our country needs.

    four items trouble us the most about the bush administration: his initiatives to disable the social security system, the deteriorating state of the american economy, a dangerous shift away from the basic freedoms established by our founding fathers, and his continuous mistakes regarding terrorism and iraq

    you may read and enjoy the rest of the piece here.

    the winning argument blog: « you know you're right. now prove it»

    such is indeed the name of a most brilliant blog i discovered this morning upon a brief visit to the bloggerforum. the writer's description and invitation to debate reads: most of the political debate in this country does not occur behind podiums but in backyards [gardens], bus stops and ball parks. this blog is an effort to give you – or at least those of you who agree with us – the arguments you need to convince others that you're right. if you disagree with the opinions expressed here, please make your case in the comments section. please note that a link has been added to the politics & section of the sidebar.

    this is the latest [ed.] entry:

    «americans still don't know the real george w bush.»

    why you're right:

    1. 84% of bush supporters believe bush supports labour and environmental standards in trade agreements. wrong. bush does not want any labour and environmental standards to stand in the way of free trade agreements and rejects requiring them and enforcing. (pipa, white house)

    2. 72% of bush supporters believe bush supports a treaty banning land mines. wrong. 150 countries have signed the mine ban treaty, which outlaws land mines and requires countries to destroy their remaining mines within four years. the US has refused to sign this treaty (pipa, UN wire)

    3. 66% of bush supporters believe bush supports the international criminal court (icc). wrong. the UN security council has twice adopted US-sponsored resolutions exempting US personnel from prosecution by the icc. (pipa, washington post)

    why they're wrong:

    just because bush says he is clear on his positions, doesn't means he is so. bush has hit kerry on flip-flopping, but bush seems to be the true flip-flopper[*], confusing even his own supporters. kerry's followers proved to know their candidate on the issues better than bush supporters know theirs, with 90% aware that kerry supports labour and environmental standards in trade agreements, 79% that he supports banning land mines, and 59% know where he stands regarding the icc. (pipa)

    posted by amanda @ 14:43»

    *well, we know bush nt just seems, but IS actually the flip-flopper-in-chief. view poster! ~arcana imperii.

    «it's the IQ, stupid!»

    tim grieve got it just right in his salon.com article. [the honourable senator] john kerry didn't [quite] destroy george w bush in the presidential debate last night. john kerry didn't turn water into wine [why is he expected to?], and he might not have turned any red states blue [and only shameful and reprehensibly stubborn, ignorant, anti-progressive voters would be to blame along with anybody who doesn't get off their arses to cast a vote for the kerry/edwards ticket]. but for ninety minutes, john kerry put george w bush on the defensive. for ninety minutes, john kerry looked like he could [can and should] be president. and for the moment -- for the moment [moment indeed given the attention span of my fellow citizens and the illogical and irresponsible fear-monguering of the administratrion]-- a race that once seemed lost suddenly seems [IS] alive again.

    john kerry won.

    have a look at this brilliant cartoon and "european" perspective.

    gbrowser in development?

    at least this is what many are hoping to hear: official confirmation that google is indeed pursuing the development of a web browser (not to be confused with andreas schwarz's image browsing programme for apple computers bearing that very name).

    in any case, a google spokesperson announced the company had a policy of not commenting on rumour and speculation, of which there's plenty... the idea of the proper marriage of internet explorer features with mozilla security and the innovation, integration and design present in alternative browsers as well as in the imagination of users who expect more than aol-style lower-common denominator tools, is indeed reason for excitement.

    internet explorer is simply obsolite and too hgigh a security risk. yet i can't stand current versions of firefox nor opera and the need to download, install and configure every attractive and rather needed feature separately instead of having them incorporated into the wholeas in the brilliant slimbrowser.